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Name selected for new Berkeley County school

February 22, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - And the name of the newest school in Berkeley County is - drumroll please - Mountain Ridge Intermediate School.

Scheduled to open this fall, the intermediate school will serve students from Back Creek Valley Elementary and Gerrardstown Elementary schools in the southwestern region of the county.

Berkeley County Board of Education members approved the name at their meeting Monday night. The other top choices were North Mountain Intermediate School and Endless Mountain Intermediate School.

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Letters were sent home to the parents of each child who attends the two feeder elementary schools, seeking suggestions. Suggestions could not include a person's name, but instead were to reflect the history and character of that area of the county, according to a copy of the letter provided by Schools Superintendent Manny Arvon.

A committee made up of school staff and members of the community narrowed 58 submitted names, including eight duplicates, down to the top three contenders, Arvon said.

Names with the words "view," "valley," "orchard" and "mill" were eliminated to avoid confusion with existing school names that include those words, he said.

When the school opens this fall it is expected to have a student population of 270 to 300 fourth- and fifth-graders. Third-graders will begin attending the following year, Arvon said.

Capacity at the school is 600 students, Arvon said. Its principal will be Michelle Martin, who is the principal of Winchester Avenue Elementary School in Martinsburg.

About 250 students who now attend Mill Creek Intermediate in Inwood, W.Va., eventually will attend Mountain Ridge Intermediate.

Making sure children attend the schools closest to their homes is important, Arvon said.

The new school will reduce the time a student from Back Creek Valley spends on a school bus by 30 minutes, he said.

Although he grew up in the southern part of the state where mountains are steeper and more prominent, Arvon said one can see North Mountain from the school site at the intersection of W.Va. 51 and Sawmill Road.

"On a clear day you can see those ridges from miles and miles away," he said.

Board members approved the new name by a 5-0 vote.

Students who attend Mill Creek and Mountain Ridge intermediate schools attend Musselman Middle School for sixth, seventh and eighth grades. More than 1,100 students are now enrolled at that school.

Building another middle school to handle students living in the southern end of the county is now a priority.

"That's a necessity," Arvon said.

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